Sunday, November 29, 2020

Play at Maitisong brings to the fore horrors of passions killings

Restorative justice could be the best alternative to lengthy jail time and death sentences in the continued fight against gender-based violence. 

Gender activist Lorato Sakufiwa says retribution resulting from sexually oriented crimes may not necessarily be the only solution, adding that support and rehabilitation of perpetrators may be just as important to their victims and those affected. 

“We have to think seriously about how to stop these atrocities from happening,” Sakufiwa said. She is of the view that a just response to violent crime should address the damage as well as the wrongdoing.  

Sakufiwa was speaking after the curtains fell on the theatre production A Day Before Execution (I’m Sorry Mr President). The production ran for the second day of the annual Maitisong Festival last Wednesday.

With murder convicts and confessions reminiscent of the Hollywood blockbuster Con Air, the play (18+) is a captivating narrative monologue about four death row inmates with only a day away from a rendezvous with the hangman. 

Watching the production for the first time Lifestyle could never in a million years have predicted the rawness and clearness with which the stories are told; one could help but check the different age groups ÔÇô checking out the young ones- occupying the seats of the theatre.

The first character (taxi driver) speaks about his inter-generational relationship with a high school student that leads to a serious relationship. He pays her way through college and once she completes, the girl decides to go for a younger, more educated man. 

“When I called her on the phone one day I got a man’s voice from the other side talking about how I should stay away,” he narrates. With a bruised ego and feeling used he invites her for a ‘talk’ and ends up killing, beheading, and delivering her head to her parents. 

Each character narrates an experience that leads to a crime of passion against their partner.  Their raw, uncensored stories and vivid explanations, paint horrific images of how they carried out acts of murder in cold blood as a result of revenge, anger and frustrations. 

At the end they each beg for mercy and a second chance to redeem themselves, from ‘Mr. President’. 

Each of the four male characters put up brilliant performances as they made a brutally honest attempt at justifying their actions. And the most heart wrenching side of their stories is the reality they represent; how the stories are not just fictitious accounts of some imaginary world. 

The play is by Mandy Promotions. Maitisong Festival 2017 opened its doors to public on April 1 and is scheduled to wind up on the next this Tuesday. 

The play is lined up for various venues around Gaborone. With an exciting line up of events, the Festival, once again, has brought brilliant home brewed and international shows to provide an unforgettable experience for the audiences. 

There are free as well as paid events to ensure that everyone gets a piece of the action. The 2017 theme, “Enrich”, extends from 2016’s “Engage” and 2015’s “Elevate”. All the themes reflect the need to professionalise the arts by pushing the bar higher, and ensuring that professionals work together and with audiences and sponsors to upgrade their game.

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Sunday Standard November 29 – 5 December

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of November 29 - 5 December, 2020.